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File Compression and Its Benefits

File compression is a type of data compression method wherein the original size of a file is reduced to save space for faster and more convenient transmission over the internet or network.  It allows you to create one or more files of the same data at substantially reduced size as opposed to the original file. The process is also known as file zipping.

How Does File Compression Work?

You can understand how to compress files by understanding the two core approaches. There are two approaches to compressing a file –

1. Lossy Compression

Lossy compression trims down the size of the file by removing irrelevant information from it. File compression is generally executed in audio, video, and image formats, where the exact representation of the source media is not essential. JPEG and MP3 are the most common examples that use lossy compression.

JPEG removes all irrelevant parts of the images. For example, in a blue sky picture, the image can be compressed by changing the sky pixels to limited shades of blue rather than using a whole bunch of different shades.

MP3 files do not contain all the information regarding audio from the original recording; instead, it removes the sounds that humans cannot hear in n way that they do not realize anything is missing. So the size of the file is lowered without any drawbacks.

The more file is compressed; the more noticeable will be the drop in quality.

This form of compression is adequate when the file encompasses more information that you need for a particular task. For example, you have an image of scenery.

If you are planning to print the image and turn it into a banner; however, preserving quality is pointless when you want to upload the image on your social media. The picture has different kinds of data that are not noticeable to the viewers on social media platforms. Compressing the image and reducing the quality of it to JPEG  removes some of the information while making the image appear almost identical to the naked eyes.

Application of Lossy Compression
Lossy compression is excellent for different kinds of videos. And this is why media companies like Netflix, Spotify, etc. use it to transmit information in a massive quantity.

Reducing the size of the file to its optimum while continuing to preserving the quality makes the services more efficient.

But in the case where information is crucial, Lossy compression fails to be efficient. For example, using Lossy compression on file that contains text is likely to offer garbled output. You can remove the information by affecting the final output.

Typically, the Lossy format allows you to set a quality level. A majority of the image editors allow you to save the JPEG quality between 0 and 100.

If you save the quality of the image to 80 or 90% decreases the size of the file and the difference in quality will be very insignificant.

2. Lossless Compression

Lossless compression is another way of compressing so that you can effectively redesign the original file. In comparison to Lossy compression, this approach does not remove any information; rather, the Lossless compression typically works by compacting the redundancy.

It rewrites the data from the original file in a more organized manner while ensuring that the quality of the file is not compromised.

Text compression is largely executed by lossless compression. It is vital that the redesign of the text is identical to the original.

This is because even a small difference in the statement can change the overall meaning of the original text. Similar is the case for certain computer files that contain important data. If such vital data are enhanced or processed to retrieve more information, it is crucial to protect its integrity.

Benefits of Compressing File

After understanding how to compress file, let's understand the benefits associated with compressing a file –

  • Reduced Storage Space
    Storage space provided by each computer hard drive comes with a price tag. Compressing the sizes enable you to save more files within the storage space that you have available.

    Moreover, lossless compression leveraged in zip file technology will reduce the original size of the file by 50%. However, when zip files are in a compressed format like PDF text-only files or MP3 audio files, you are not likely to see any difference in the size of the file.

  • Cost
    Compressing the files allows you to significantly reduce the cost associated with storing the data. This is because compressing allows you to have more savings so that you can store more files.

    If you have a 250 MB drive space and files measuring up to 500 MB, you will need to pay an additional amount to buy another 250 MB storage space. However, when the file is compressed, you only have to invest in one 250 MB drive.

    Typically, Internet Service Provides includes fees associated with data that you download. When you download compressed files, you use fewer amounts of data as opposed to when you download uncompressed files. This way, you can significantly reduce the cost associated with download charges.

  • Higher Transfer and Bandwidth Speed
    The process of download uses network bandwidth while downloading a file. Bandwidth refers to the speed at which network transfers data and is denoted by Mbps. Compressed files encompass lesser data bits as opposed to uncompressed files.

    Subsequently, it uses lower bandwidth during the process of downloading. This implies that you experience a quicker time when downloading a file. If you have a bandwidth of 1 Mbps and a file of 10 MB, it takes up to 10 seconds to download the file. If the bandwidth speed is higher, the file can be downloaded in lesser time. 

Final Thoughts

Compressing files is a process that allows you to shorten the size of the file to serve different purposes. The compression method can be Lossy and Lossless, depending on the requirement. Moreover, the different formats of the file can be compressed to save space and money and boost the transmitting time. With the right tool, files can be compressed as per the requirement without any hassle and hindering the end result.


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